Indian succession laws are manifold and complex. As such, an estate and succession plan should be devised for a person of Indian origin or with any Indian connection only once the applicable succession rules have been determined. This article discusses specific concepts of succession laws and provides a takeaway toolkit for practitioners faced with an estate with an Indian connection.
Wealth is increasing exponentially among some of the world's richest families to the extent that, for many of these families, it makes commercial sense to set up their own bespoke family office to look after their key operations – and they are increasingly looking to Jersey as the place to do it. There are a range of factors as to why Jersey is becoming a jurisdiction of choice for families across the world looking to set up such an operation, including global economic shifts and Jersey's expertise and personnel.
Wealth is increasing exponentially among some of the world's richest families to the extent that, for many of these families, it makes commercial sense to set up their own bespoke family office to look after their key operations – and they are increasingly looking to Guernsey as the place to do it. There are a range of factors as to why Guernsey is becoming a jurisdiction of choice in this regard, including political stability and the fact that it has the expertise and personnel to manage family offices well.
The Supreme Court recently released a judgment which determined that the EU principle preventing restrictions of the free movement of capital applies to gifts of UK assets to charities in Jersey. Accordingly, persons making such gifts are entitled to inheritance tax relief in the same way as they would be if they made such a gift to a UK-based charity. For UK advisers, the case serves as a salutary reminder of the need for careful tax planning at the earliest opportunity.
The Indian diaspora is one of the largest in the world, with more than 30 million people of Indian origin living outside the country. Many of these people retain some connection with India through their nationality or ownership of assets, especially real estate. Consequently, global estate and succession planning invariably involves elements of Indian succession law. Indian succession rules are complex and multi-layered and may confound offshore practitioners who encounter estates with an Indian connection.
A recent Supreme Court judgment has once again confirmed Bermuda's status as a sophisticated, arbitration-friendly jurisdiction. It is a classic example of the Bermuda courts' robust approach when asked to enforce foreign arbitral awards against award debtors in Bermuda, even in circumstances where the award in question is being challenged by the award debtor in the courts of the seat, or legal place, of the arbitration.
The Court of Appeal recently overturned the High Court judgment in Lomax v Lomax, confirming that the courts can order early neutral evaluation even without the parties' consent. The decision – which was made in the context of a claim by a widow under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 and which was strongly resisted by her stepson – will be of particular interest to private client practitioners because of the court's endorsement of early neutral evaluation in the context of family disputes.
Cyprus has a complicated system of forced heirship in which a portion of a deceased's estate must be effectively passed to surviving family members according to a set system of inheritance. This forced heirship regime means that even if a deceased writes a will leaving a certain portion of their estate as gift to their spouse, their wishes will be deemed invalid if there are natural children who are entitled to a fixed minimum percentage of the estate.
The Supreme Court recently clarified its jurisdictional limits to assist in trust-related arbitrations, ruling that it has no such jurisdiction to allow service outside an action's jurisdiction. Given this ruling, parties to trust arbitration agreements must be cognisant that, notwithstanding whether their trust deeds provide for the seat of any arbitration to be The Bahamas, the court can provide only limited assistance where the arbitration is not held and the parties or assets are not in The Bahamas.
Estimated at $67.4 billion, the art market has become a global playing field for ultra-high-net-worth and high-net-worth individuals to invest their assets. Yet, lack of harmonisation of national legislations on the protection of cultural property may hamper collectors' pleasure in moving their art around the world. In a recent decision, the Swiss Supreme Court clarified the requirements to be met by countries of origin when requesting the return of artworks allegedly illicitly exported by their legitimate owners, thus absent any issues of ownership.
The Privy Council has determined that, notwithstanding the absence of express statutory provisions permitting service out of the jurisdiction of fraudulent preference claims, such claims are to have extraterritorial effect. This decision clarifies the law as it relates to the extraterritorial effect of fraudulent preference claims; however, it also creates difficulties for subscribers to mutual funds that may be held liable for investments made on behalf of third-party beneficiaries that are the ultimate recipients of payments.
The Office of Tax Simplification recently published a report that made recommendations to the government to reform inheritance tax. The proposal that has received the most attention is the reduction of the period during which a lifetime gift remains subject to inheritance tax in the hands of the person making the gift (the donor) from seven to five years. A number of other changes have also been suggested – including in relation to agricultural property relief and business property relief.
Bermuda's chief justice recently handed down an important decision dealing with the power of the court to intervene in the administration of a trust to approve actions of improperly appointed trustees. This case is important because it confirms the court's inherent jurisdiction, on the appointment of trustees, to grant them leave to administer the trust on the basis that they were properly appointed on a prior date.
Divorce can pose a significant risk to a family's or an individual's wealth. However, a nuptial agreement can reduce or mitigate such risk. A common perception of nuptial agreements is that they are designed to limit the extent of one party's financial claims. While they can be used in this way, their greater utility in this context is their ability to reduce uncertainty and therefore risk.
The Jersey Court of Appeal recently handed down a long-awaited judgment in the Z Trusts case. The decision considers important questions regarding the equitable rights of former trustees and whether those rights have priority over the rights of other claimants to the assets of a trust (including successor trustees) whose liabilities exceed its assets. As such, trustees must consider the practical implications of this judgment and whether and how they should be mitigated.
The Court of Appeal recently overturned a first-instance decision and confirmed that the plaintiff can make a claim out of time for reasonable provision from her husband's estate. The court disagreed with the first-instance decision that to allow this claim would amount to forced spousal heirship, as each case depends on its own facts and the specific application of the factors set out in the inheritance act.
The Bermuda Monetary Authority recently published the Insurance Brokers and Insurance Agents Code of Conduct. The code was developed in consideration of the international standards set by the International Association of Insurance Supervisors and is intended to assist the authority in providing appropriate, effective and efficient supervision and regulation of Bermuda-registered brokers and agents.
While trusts have not been incorporated into the Swiss legal system, Switzerland ratified the Hague Trust Convention with effect from 1 July 2007 and adapted its conflict of laws provisions – in particular, Articles 149(a) to 149(e) of the Private International Law Act. As a result, foreign trusts are fully recognised and implemented under Swiss law. Although discussed controversially, legislative initiatives to introduce trusts into the Swiss legal system are ongoing.
The tax drag and unsatisfactory options to deal with accumulated income often result in moving an offshore trust to the United States and giving up the tax deferral. However, there is an alternative method, suitable for very long-term trusts, that takes an almost diametrically opposite approach. Rather than restricting the US beneficiaries to the value of the original trust capital and virtually giving up on future tax deferral, this method sacrifices the original trust capital to a final payment of taxes and interest (or a gift to charity) and tries to maximise the duration of the deferral.
This article addresses the rules and procedures that govern family links in the context of estate and succession planning in Liechtenstein. For example, in regard to marriage, if no special arrangement exists, the default matrimonial property regime is separation of property. However, marital agreements that establish a different regime can be entered into before and during marriage.